Exercise…we all know it is great for our health but what about during pregnancy? You may have heard that getting your heart rate up too high may harm the baby or limit the amount of weight you lift. Well, I am hear to shed some light on what the research is saying (You know me…I am a giant nerd when it comes to this stuff!)
Speaking of research, a study by Broberg et al., in their 2015 study, found only 15-38% of pregnant women were reported following physical activity guidelines.
Side note: I must add a little tid bit here. I was in the 60% non-exerciser group. Although I would have loved to exercise, the non-stop puking from the hyperemesis gravidarum and 3 months of bedrest put a damper on this dream. There is no shame if you are experiencing or have experienced a complicated pregnancy that did not allow for movement of the body. I think it is important to give yourself some grace and know this is only a short period of time (which sometimes seems like forever 🙂 )
ALL women without contraindication should be physically active during pregnancy. This means getting your heart rate up for at least 150 minutes each week and participating in at least 2 days of strength training.
Ok, it may seem a bit obvious but here are the signs:
There is A LOT out there on the world-wide-web regarding what you should and should not do while pregnant. It can be extremely overwhelming. As you progress during each stage of pregnancy you will need to make modifications to your exercise routine. Let’s take a look at the different trimesters.
There are no contraindications during the 1st Trimester if you do not present with any “red light” signs. Just know you will probably be fatigued during this period and morning sickness may be on board….darn it! So just give yourself a little grace if you aren’t feeling 100%.
Considerations should be around the growing baby bump. Slamming your belly into the ground during a burpee may not be in the cards for you. Along those same lines, as your baby bump grows, your abs stretch and the integrity of the anterior abdominal wall is more compromised. With this, you may need to modify some of your exercises that put strain on the anterior abdominal wall. (Examples, planks, push-ups, over-extending during a row or kettlebell swing)
Don’t hold your breath or bear down (like you are trying to poop). There is already quite a lot of pressure down on the pelvic floor so practicing good breathing techniques to help manage pressure on the pelvic floor is needed. (Breathing through the movement and not holding your breath)
You may need to modify your supine (lying flat on your back) movements so that you don’t limit blood flow of the inferior vena cava (large blood vessel). You can modify by propping your head up or using an incline bench.
This is the quick growth phase during pregnancy so make way for that growing baby bump! The biggest thing during this trimester is the pressure of the growing bump/baby down on the pelvic floor. Due to the increased size, you may need to modify your exercises. This may include, decreasing the intensity, impact, or range of motion (for example squat depth) while performing the exercise.
If you do not have any contraindications to exercise, then I encourage you to move your body! The list of positives seem pretty awesome!
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or comments!